(RxWiki News) A healthy diet could add more than a decade to your life, according to a new study.
Health professionals and researchers have long known that healthy diet choices, such as eating fruits and vegetables and avoiding added sugars, could have beneficial impacts on health. Now, this study has quantified those impacts.
To be specific, this research found that a woman who began eating a healthy diet at age 20 could add a decade to her life span. And a man who did the same could add up to 13 years to his life.
The study authors noted that dietary risk factors were thought to cause roughly 11 million deaths around the world each year.
The researchers behind this study dug into the data from a global study that tracked dozens of health risk factors, hundreds of health problems and people in hundreds of countries.
They found that participants who ate more fruits and vegetables — legumes like beans and nuts, in particular — were more likely to live longer. Also, those who ate less processed meat like bacon and sausage, as well as less red meat in general, were likely to live longer.
Using their findings, the study authors created a free online calculator that you can use to estimate the impact of various dietary changes on your life span. You can try it here.
While it is generally a good idea to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, it's important to always discuss any major diet changes with your health care provider before you make them. For some people, certain changes in diet can be unhealthy or even dangerous.
This study was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
The authors of this study disclosed no outside funding sources or potential conflicts of interest.